The Graduate School of the University of Colorado Boulderconsiders the employment and training of graduate teachers to be a professional apprenticeship that shapes the professoriate of the future. To recognize and reward graduate teachers who devote time to improving their teaching, the Graduate School offers a Certificate in College Teaching (CCT) through the Graduate Teacher Program. Although such certificates are not officially recognized at the state or national level. More than 80 research institutions currently offer similar certificates at the graduate level. Graduate students report that they are an asset when pursuing employment in postsecondary institutions.
Useful CCT Forms:
To qualify graduate teachers must complete the requirements detailed below.
Certificants must complete 20 Graduate Teacher Program workshops (which do vary in length). Workshops address the needs of beginning and experienced graduate teaching assistants and instructors. Graduate teachers should choose activities that are appropriate for their personal level of experience. Workshops cover topics from the following areas:
All GTP workshops count toward the CCT: Fall Intensive, Spring Conference, or the COPPFN Forum or at different workshop series: Friday Forums, Monday Workshops, Summer Series, TIGER, Intercultural Workshops, or occasional special workshops. Sign-in sheets are used at each workshop to document credit for attendance.
All graduate teachers wishing to be certified are required to complete a minimum of 20 real-time hours of teacher training in their discipline (however, the department may require more.)
Departmental activities, such as:
If the department does not provide 20 real-time hours of discipline-specific training, potential certificants can substitute attendance at additional Graduate Teacher Program workshops.
However, departmental workshops may not replace GTP workshop credit.
Two videotape consultations (based on recitation sections, laboratory sections, or courses the graduate teacher is teaching for a full semester) are required for certification. The graduate teacher, in consultation with a staff consultant or lead graduate teacher, develops a plan for improvement based on video self-assessment. The first videotape consultation should be completed early in the program; the second at least two months later. Consultations are confidential and non-evaluative.
Public speaking engagements, talks in colloquia, or single lectures given in the place of a faculty member may not be used to complete the videotape consultation portion of the Certificate in College Teaching (such talks may be used for the Professional Development Certificate.)
A faculty member from the home department must observe and evaluate each candidate for certification during a regular class, recitation, or lab session. To qualify, candidates must meet departmental standards for proficiency in teaching.
The faculty member may decide to recommend the graduate teacher for certification or may request that the graduate teacher attain a higher level of proficiency and undergo a follow-up evaluation prior to certification.
Faculty may use any format they choose or respond to the questions listed on the Faculty Observation and Evaluation.
A written observation and evaluation report by a faculty member must be sent to the Graduate Teacher Program office:
A copy should also be kept in the graduate teacher's personal and departmental file.
Upon recommendation from the department, the director reviews each candidate's file and portfolio and decides if the candidate is approved for certification.
The candidate then completes an online GTP Exit Survey prior to receiving the signed certificate.
It is important that the candidate notify the GTP upon completion of the Exit Survey by sending an email to gtpCERT@colorado.edu, once the Exit Survey is completed.
The Certificate in College Teaching may be awarded to all graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty who complete the requirements and evaluation successfully.
Requirements include classroom teaching, participation in GTP workshops and discipline-specific activities, videotape consultations, faculty observation, and completing a teaching portfolio.
As learning to teach effectively is a developmental process, we suggest that graduate teachers complete the requirements over a minimum of two or more years, although several students have finished all requirements in 12 months.
Prior to certification, graduate teaching assistants (TAs) and graduate part-time instructors (GPTIs) from other countries have two additional requirements.